New report published by Blue Economy Initiative highlights innovative water solutions for municipalities and regions across Canada. CH2M HILL’s Dr. Glen Daigger, one of 17 water professionals interviewed in the report, shares his view of what a water sustainable city might look like in the not so distant future.

By: Dr. Glen Daigger, CH2M HILL Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and IWA President

Last week, the Blue Economy Initiative, a national project in Canada with a long-term vision to help Canada have a prosperous future as a global leader in water sustainability, released a new report, “Blue City: The Water-Sustainable City of the Near Future.” The report, which was published to help policy-makers, government officials, businesses, and community leaders create real solutions for sustainable water management, incorporates interviews from 17 water-related professionals.

I had the privilege of contributing my thoughts on what a water sustainable city might look like. The report weaves together three core themes: the vision of a water sustainable city; essential innovations in the water sustainable city; and making the business case for how to achieve water sustainability. Contributors were asked to identify defining characteristics to sketch a picture of what a water sustainable city may look like. Three core elements were repeatedly identified, which include:

  • Water is visible and valued.
  • A culture of conservation exists.
  • Responsibility is shared.

The final report conveys a story about the possibilities of urban water sustainability. It is my belief that people can’t appreciate water unless they can actually see it and experience it. While water aesthetically enriches cities, it also keeps water in front of people so they understand and value it.

To achieve a water sustainable city, it will require effective change management and dedicated leadership, but if we start now, time will be our friend. Change doesn’t have to be dramatic, but rather, by getting the dialogue started and recognizing the value of water, we can begin to move forward one step at a time and articulate our clear vision for what the future should look like.

Beyond visionary and futuristic thoughts, the report also includes case studies of successful water projects which have already been implemented in communities around the world. These projects are representative of what can be achieved in Canada and in other regions.

I encourage you to download the report. I think municipalities will especially find value in this strategic tool when building their business case for moving towards a more water sustainable city.

Learn more about the Blue Economy Initiative here.